Mississippi could set penalties for luring people into gangs

After hearing concerns about racial profiling, the Mississippi Senate voted Wednesday to set penalties for people who lure others into gang activities despite worries from black lawmakers who think the bill amounts to racial profiling.

Posted: Feb 7, 2018 3:41 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — After hearing concerns about racial profiling, the Mississippi Senate voted Wednesday to set penalties for people who lure others into gang activities despite worries from black lawmakers who think the bill amounts to racial profiling.

Republican Sen. Brice Wiggins of Pascagoula said investigators are requesting the bill because they say gangs are a problem in many parts of the state, including inside prisons.

"We don't want to admit that we have a problem that we do," Wiggins said.

If Senate Bill 2868 becomes law, luring a young person into gang activity would be a form of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A violation would be punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Several black senators said they worry that African-Americans who are not in any kind of gang could be targeted for punishment.

The bill identifies gang members as at least three people involved in criminal activity who identify themselves by a common name, slogan, tattoo or other physical marking; a common style or color of clothing or hair; and a shared hand sign or gesture.

"My concern with that is within the black community, we have a tendency to utilize many of those features, and we are just everyday good folks. ... It's not an indication that we are in any kind of gang," said Democratic Sen. Willie Simmons of Cleveland.

Wiggins replied that he would not ask fellow senators to pass the bill if he thought it would be used to unfairly target any group.

"The profiling is wrong," Wiggins said. "The law enforcement I know don't do that."

Senators voted 35-14 to pass the bill, which goes to the House for more debate.

Another bill awaiting consideration in the House would require five to 15 additional years in prison for any proven gang member convicted of a felony. Prisoners couldn't be released early from the extra sentence.

House Bill 541 also would designate any gang-related crime as a violent offense, meaning offenders would have to serve half of their sentences in prison before becoming eligible for parole, instead of a quarter of that time. Other provisions would bar sentence reductions for gang-related crimes.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 97049

Reported Deaths: 2919
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7148160
DeSoto562361
Harrison388374
Jackson352170
Madison331289
Rankin330879
Lee274870
Forrest250075
Jones249879
Washington225977
Lafayette219340
Lauderdale2064125
Bolivar184766
Oktibbeha180152
Lamar172435
Neshoba1580104
Lowndes157958
Panola150731
Sunflower147346
Leflore141381
Warren140950
Pontotoc127916
Pike124051
Monroe123669
Copiah119233
Scott117627
Coahoma116229
Marshall111117
Lincoln110453
Holmes109859
Grenada109536
Yazoo106230
Simpson104746
Tate100638
Union99824
Leake96138
Adams94237
Wayne90521
Pearl River89453
Marion86835
Prentiss86317
Itawamba83121
Covington82723
Alcorn82311
George78213
Tallahatchie77421
Newton77324
Winston74219
Tishomingo69138
Chickasaw68524
Tippah67217
Attala67025
Clarke60346
Walthall60226
Clay59618
Hancock58822
Jasper57715
Noxubee55116
Smith53615
Calhoun52212
Tunica49715
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46520
Yalobusha43614
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38717
Humphreys37815
Quitman3775
Stone37512
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33210
Carroll32012
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2283
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136055

Reported Deaths: 2364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19752350
Mobile13449292
Montgomery8852184
Tuscaloosa8654118
Madison792778
Shelby601349
Lee592760
Baldwin552650
Marshall396143
Calhoun353444
Etowah352145
Morgan331428
Houston292021
Elmore267348
DeKalb243221
St. Clair233036
Walker231984
Talladega217129
Limestone211920
Cullman190720
Dallas179126
Franklin178129
Autauga177325
Russell17633
Lauderdale172333
Colbert166626
Blount161715
Escambia161124
Chilton158830
Jackson158111
Covington140327
Dale139244
Coffee13596
Pike120510
Chambers116842
Tallapoosa116485
Clarke110016
Marion96829
Butler91339
Barbour8857
Winston74512
Marengo72420
Pickens66614
Bibb65610
Lowndes65427
Randolph65413
Hale64428
Geneva6344
Lawrence62123
Cherokee61213
Bullock60614
Monroe5908
Clay5878
Washington55913
Perry5416
Crenshaw54032
Conecuh53611
Wilcox53211
Henry5075
Macon48318
Fayette4628
Sumter43819
Cleburne3825
Lamar3702
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 62°
Columbus
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 61°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
57° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 57°
Starkville
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 57°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather